In our regular series, industry big wigs take us back to their very first job
Hi Zara! Who are you and what do you do?
I am Zara Nanu, CEO of Gapsquare. We build solutions to create fair pay to help employers pay their employees fairly.
What was your first McJob?
I’m originally from Moldova. Not a lot of exciting things happen in Moldova. It was post Soviet Union, so I went on an exchange program to Wyoming in The States for a year. When I came back, I went to university but somehow landed this job of home schooling a few American kids in Moldova.
What did you have to do, day to day?
They’d rented an entire flat that they’d made into a school. They’d drop off the kids at 8:30am and pick them up at 3pm. One was 15 or 16 and the other was nine or ten. I had to teach them different subjects, so maths, literature, science, geography and history. I was in the first year at uni thinking: I have no idea what I’m doing!
How did you get the job?
My exchange program was through the US embassy, so through them.
What was the funniest thing that happened?
It was really surprising that people trusted me with not only their children, but with their education. I felt responsibility for these kids as their future depended on me making sure they did their work every day. It was more scary than funny!
What skills did you learn that you still use today?
Patience! It also gave me confidence because by the end, I’d taught these kids for a whole year.
Why is alumni important to you personally?
When I came back from The States, the exchange program included me in their alumni program. We would get together to work together on various projects to help Moldova develop as a country. One of the alumni of those exchange programs — Maia Sandu — is now the President of Moldova, and another is a prime minister!
Why is alumni important to everybody?
Alumni helps recruit new talent. If alumni return to your business, they already have a strong starting point.
What would happen if you went back and home schooled today?
I would be a lot more fun! I was very serious because I was petrified. There’d be a lot more games and a lot more laughter in that classroom.